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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Thursday, August 19, 2021

District Woman Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Stealing Over $364,000 from Employer

Former Bookkeeper Stole Cash, Falsified Paperwork

            WASHINGTON – Jessica J. Lucas, 43, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to two years in prison for committing a wire fraud scheme against her employer, a company that owns restaurants in the Washington metropolitan area. 

            The announcement was made by Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division Robert Bornstein, and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Lucas pled guilty in February 2020 to one count of wire fraud in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Today, she was sentenced by the Honorable Thomas F. Hogan. In addition to her prison term, the Court ordered Lucas to pay restitution in the amount $364,004, as well as a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $364,004.  Following her prison term, she will be placed on three years of supervised release.

            According to court papers, beginning on or about Jan. 1, 2015, and continuing through on or about Feb. 28, 2018, Lucas, who was employed as bookkeeper and cash handler for a restaurant in downtown Washington, implemented a scheme to steal from her employer. Lucas was responsible for ensuring that the restaurant had sufficient cash in its safe and bars to conduct the restaurant’s business of serving food and beverages to customers.

            As part of her employment, Lucas frequently ordered cash from the company’s financial institution in order for the restaurant to have a “cash fund,” which was supposed to be used to provide change to customers who paid in cash rather than by credit card. As part of her scheme, Lucas regularly ordered more cash than was needed for operation of the restaurant. Lucas then stole a portion of the cash ordered and deposited the cash into her personal bank accounts. In an effort to conceal her theft from her employer, Lucas falsified monthly “change fund reconciliation reports” that she sent to company management in which she reported that there was more cash on hand than was actually in the safe.

              In announcing the sentence, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillips, Special Agent in Charge Robert Bornstein and Chief Contee commended the work performed by those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the MPD. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Gorman and Diane Lucas, who prosecuted the case with assistance from Paralegal Specialist Chad Byron, and former Paralegal Specialist C. Rosalind Pressley.

Financial Fraud
Updated August 19, 2021